|Easton's Bible Dictionary|
Smiths, the name of a tribe inhabiting the desert lying between southern Palestine and the mountains of Sinai. Jethro was of this tribe (Judges 1:16). He is called a "Midianite" (Numbers 10:29), and hence it is concluded that the Midianites and the Kenites were the same tribe. They were wandering smiths, "the gipsies and travelling tinkers of the old Oriental world. They formed an important guild in an age when the art of metallurgy was confined to a few" (Sayce's Races, etc.). They showed kindness to Israel in their journey through the wilderness. They accompanied them in their march as far as Jericho (Judges 1:16), and then returned to their old haunts among the Amalekites, in the desert to the south of Judah. They sustained afterwards friendly relations with the Israelites when settled in Canaan (Judges 4:11, 17-21; 1 Samuel 27:10; 30:29). The Rechabites belonged to this tribe (1 Chronicles 2:55) and in the days of Jeremiah (35:7-10) are referred to as following their nomad habits. Saul bade them depart from the Amalekites (1 Samuel 15:6) when, in obedience to the divine commission, he was about to "smite Amalek." And his reason is, "for ye showed kindness to all the children of Israel when they came up out of Egypt." Thus "God is not unrighteous to forget the kindnesses shown to his people; but they shall be remembered another day, at the farthest in the great day, and recompensed in the resurrection of the just" (M. Henry's Commentary). They are mentioned for the last time in Scripture in 1 Samuel 27:10; comp. 30:20.
Int. Standard Bible Encyclopedia
ke'-nits (ha-qeni, haqeni; in Numbers 24:22 and Judges 4:11, qayin; of hoi Kenaioi, hoi Kinaioi): A tribe of nomads named in association with various other peoples. They are first mentioned along with the Kadmonites and Kenizzites among the peoples whose land was promised to Abram (Genesis 15:19). Balaam, seeing them from the heights of Moab; puns upon their name, which resembles the Hebrew ken, "a nest," prophesying their destruction although their nest was "set in the rock"-possibly a reference to Sela, the city. Moses' father-in-law, Jethro, is called "the priest of Midian" in Exodus 3:1; Exodus 18:1; but in Judges 1:16 he is described as a Kenite, showing a close relation between the Kenites and Midian. At the time of Sisera's overthrow, Heber, a Kenite, at "peace" with Jabin, king of Hazor, pitched his tent far North of his ancestral seats (Judges 4:17). There were Kenites dwelling among the Amalekites in the time of Saul (1 Samuel 15:6). They were spared because they had "showed kindness to all the children of Israel, when they came up out of Egypt." David, in his answer to Achish, links the Kenites with the inhabitants of the South of Judah (1 Samuel 27:10). Among the ancestors of the tribe of Judah, the Chronicler includes the Kenite Hammath, the father of the Rechabites (1 Chronicles 2:55). These last continued to live in tents, practicing the ancient nomadic customs (Jeremiah 35:6).ichly varied landscape, With smiling cornfields, and hills clothed with oak and terebinth.
The word qeni in Aramaic means "smith." Professor Sayce thinks they may really have been a tribe of smiths, resembling "the gipsies of modern Europe, as well as the traveling tinkers or blacksmiths of the Middle Ages" (HDB, under the word). This would account for their relations with the different peoples, among whom they would reside in pursuit of their calling.
In Josephus they appear as Kenetides, and in Ant, IV, vii, 3 he calls them "the race of the Shechemites."
Kenites (8 Occurrences)
Genesis 15:19 the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, (WEB KJV DBY WBS NIV)
Numbers 24:21 And he looked on the Kenites, and took up his parable, and said, Strong is thy dwelling place, and thou puttest thy nest in a rock. (KJV BBE DBY WBS NIV)
Numbers 24:22 But still the Kenites will be wasted, till Asshur takes you away prisoner. (BBE NIV)
Judges 4:11 Now Heber the Kenite had separated himself from the Kenites, even from the children of Hobab the brother-in-law of Moses, and had pitched his tent as far as the oak in Zaanannim, which is by Kedesh. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE WBS NAS NIV)
1 Samuel 15:6 Saul said to the Kenites, "Go, depart, go down from among the Amalekites, lest I destroy you with them; for you showed kindness to all the children of Israel, when they came up out of Egypt." So the Kenites departed from among the Amalekites. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS NAS NIV)
1 Samuel 27:10 Achish said, "Against whom have you made a raid today?" David said, "Against the South of Judah, against the South of the Jerahmeelites, and against the South of the Kenites." (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS NAS NIV)
1 Samuel 30:29 and to those who were in Racal, and to those who were in the cities of the Jerahmeelites, and to those who were in the cities of the Kenites, (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
1 Chronicles 2:55 The families of scribes who lived at Jabez: the Tirathites, the Shimeathites, the Sucathites. These are the Kenites who came of Hammath, the father of the house of Rechab. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)